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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dr. Gordon H. Clark Quote of the Day: Modern Lutheranism and Arminianism



I remember reading Charles Hodge's assessment of modern Lutheranism in his systematic theology and thinking, "This sounds more like Arminianism than anything else.  Dr. Gordon H. Clark was not afraid to speak his mind on these matters, unlike those so-called "Reformed" theologians who wish to be part of the village green or the big tent of Evangelicalism rather than part of the Christianity defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Belgic Confession, or the 39 Articles of Religion.

Of course, Dr. Clark's writings are difficult to read for those with no training in theology and philosophy.  On the other hand, several of Clark's books are written specifically for lay people, including God's Hammer, The Christian Life, and What Do Presbyterians Believe?

The following quote is to the point I wanted to make here:


The question, How is justice related to sovereignty? can only arise with the sphere of Calvinism.  Lutheran theology is more anthropocentric than theocentric.  Krauth, an influential Lutheran theologian, in his The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (123ff.), claims that Arminius was largely influenced by Lutheranism.  Krauth's decisive example is Arminius' choice and denial of the five points of Calvinism:  It was Arminius, not some Calvinist, who selected the TULIP as the essence of Calvinism.  On this, says Krauth, Armininianism and Lutheranism are in accord.  Some semi-Calvinists are in partial agreement.   

Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  The Atonement.  (Unicoi:  Trinity Foundation: 1987).   P. 123.

Dr. Clark's point is that man-centered theology, anthropocentric theology, is opposed to the God-centered theology of the Bible, or theocentric theology.  Luther himself would have never agreed with the Arminians!  This implies that modernism Lutheranism went Arminian due to Phillip Melanchthon's turn back in the semi-pelagian direction, although it would take much writing to show the reasons why.  Even worse, most modern Lutherans agree more with neo-orthodoxy, paradox, and irrationalism than with Luther's use of logic in his defeat of Erasmus in his book, The Bondage of the Will.  For that reason I question my Reformed friends who think the disagreements between Calvinism and Arminianism/Lutheranism are minor.

If, therefore, "Free-will" be of one and the same nature and impotency in all men, no reason can be given why it should attain unto grace in one, and not in another; if nothing else be preached to all, but the goodness of a long-suffering and the punishment of a mercy-shewing God. For it is a granted position, that "Free-will" in all, is alike defined to be, 'that which cannot will good.' And indeed, if it were not so, God could not elect any one, nor would there be any place left for Election; but for "Free-will" only, as choosing or refusing the long-suffering and anger of God. And if God be thus robbed of His power and wisdom to elect, what will there be remaining but that idol Fortune, under the name of which, all things take place at random! Nay, we shall at length come to this: that men may be saved and damned without God's knowing anything at all about it; as not having determined by certain election who should be saved and who should be damned; but having set before all men in general His hardening goodness and long-suffering, and His mercy shewing correction and punishment, and left them to choose for themselves whether they would be saved or damned; while He, in the mean time, should be gone, as Homer says, to an Ethiopian feast!

Martin Luther.  The Bondage of the Will.  (Discussion:  Second Part, Section 78).

It is most amusing that Luther uses parody and contradiction to point out how silly it is to deny God's sovereignty in election and reprobation.  He reverses the terms to demonstrate this.  To show how stupid common grace is Luther says that God's goodness and longsuffering "hardens."  By this Luther uses irony to show that God does not love the reprobate, because all this goodness that the Arminians, Lutherans and semi-Calvinists advocate as "common grace" serves only to harden those foreordained to reprobation.  The implication here is that God does not and never did desire to save the reprobate (Romans 9:11-13, 18; 1 Peter 2:8; Isaiah 46:10).  Luther's point in the second part of the contrast of reversals is that God's mercy and showing correction and punishment is of no effect to the elect if He is not sovereign over both election and reprobation.  How is punishment of the reprobate "mercy"?  That seems to be Luther's point.

The Armianian, Lutheran, and semi-Calvinist position is that salvation is merely up to chance and "free will."  (Proverbs 16:33).  As Dr. Clark said in his lecture on predestination in the Old Testament, Arminians deny that God is the cause of both sin and salvation.  However, there are no logical contradictions in Scripture, and there are no apparent paradoxes in Scripture that have no solutions.  To say they do is to make paradox the presupposed theology rather than presupposing biblical inerrancy. The logical propositions of Scripture are the fully inspired words of God, without error in every part (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).  Scripture alone is the Word of God.  God is absolutely sovereign. 

Soli Gloria Deo.



Charlie

3 comments:

Trent said...

Hey!
I am just wondering how your experience was at Asbury Seminary since now you are Reformed? I saw you mention briefly it was bad on the PB (that is how I came across your site, I am a newer member there).
Thanks!

Charlie J. Ray said...

I became Reformed in my last year at Asbury in 1995. I took a class with Jerry Walls on the subject of Christian Philosophy and Apologetics. Walls attacked compatibilism and Calvinism and advocated "libertarian" free will. During the class I suddenly realized I agreed more with Calvin than Arminianism. The other factor was I took a seminar on Calvin's Institutes with Thomas O'Malley. We read through the whole two volume set, Battles' translation and wrote and presented summaries of Calvin's chapters. I came out of that class agreeing with Calvin as well.

The final straw was when I met the Reformed Baptist, James R. White on a BBS bulletin board on the fidonet network. We debated the doctrines of grace in John's Gospel. I already knew Romans 9 was Calvinist and maybe Isaiah. But John's Gospel? White blew away the last of my Arminianism and I decided then and there that I was a Calvinist. I have never looked back.

I should add that I read J. I. Packer's book, Knowing God, when I was a student at the Assemblies of God college in Lakeland.

Anyway, my impression of Asbury as a whole is not good. Although they claim to believe in biblical inerrancy, they did not hold it up. They said that the "concepts" of the bible are inspired, not every word. They reject plenary verbal inspiration and absolute infallibility and inerrancy.

My OT professor, Lawson Stone, taught that Genesis 1-11 is legend and saga. Basically, the OT department taught neo-orthodox views. And the NT department did the same. The higher critical views were all dominate. It's a long story but Asbury is not even remotely Evangelical. It's a liberal seminary that still disagrees with homosexuality. They even said that Paul's view of the sacraments were borrowed from the mystery religions! Why not from the passover meal and OT circumcision?

As for the Puritan Board, I was banned for daring to say that three ecumenical creeds are warranted by Scripture. There is a predominance of Baptists there. Baptists may be Calvinistic but they are certainly not Reformed.

BTW, I knew Matt McMahon in college. We did 2 years of biblical Greek together with Prof. Irwin Ziemann. Matt and I do not get along because he is a theonomist and I am a Clarkian presuppositionalist. Scripturalism.

The Scriptures alone are the Word of God.


Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Short Testimony

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